Last year, rules for the Posted Worker Directive (PWD) were updated. Amongst the pandemic, lack of travel, move to remote work, Brexit and other key issues companies had to contend with, the focus on posted worker regulations could easily have been pushed to the back of the queue. Now that travel and traditional employee mobility is returning at scale, Posted Worker compliance is back under the spotlight and companies need to ensure any employee travelling for business is compliant with that of the Directive.
What is the Posted Worker Directive?
A “Posted Worker” is an employee who is sent by their employer to carry out work in another EU member state on a temporary basis. The PWD is a set of mandatory rules set by the EU to protect both posted and local workers from exploitation. At a minimum this includes equality amongst rates or pay, work periods, rest periods, holiday and leave entitlements, as well as equal protection rights and health and safety standards.
It’s important to note the EU only mandates that each member state must implement corresponding provisions into their national laws, which means there are significant variations in how the rules and processes are enforced by each country throughout the EU. This also applies to the definition of a Posted Worker, the PWD applies to employees temporarily working abroad, this means both assignees and business travellers may fall under Posted Worker legislation depending on how each individual country interprets the PWD.
Last year saw revisions to the PWD, which has led to a new set of strict compliance obligations for employers to understand the footprint of their employee population and carefully track and monitor any overseas travel. A key change is the duration period before a posted worker falls under the host country labour law.
Compliance Considerations Applicable to Posted Workers:
Labor law – organisations have to commit to providing a minimum level of employment protection.
Social security – organisations must apply and obtain an A1 certificate on behalf of the employee to confirm that individuals continue to have coverage under their home state social security.
Immigration law – organisations may be required to fulfill certain local registration requirements, as well as obtain the required work or resident permits, depending on the nature of the posted work.
What is an A1 Certificate?
An A1 Certificate is proof that the traveller will continue to be subject to their home country social security system whilst travelling for work. An A1 certificate should be applied for and obtained for all assignees and business travellers planning a trip into any EU member state (this includes those travelling for business meetings and conferences).
Penalties for failing to comply with Posted Workers Directive
Failure to comply with PWD requirements can result in hefty fines starting from €10,000 per employee, and for repeat offenses the amount could go to as much as €500,000 per employee. Some countries, such as Germany, are enforcing even stricter penalties which include banning companies from operating in the country. Furthermore the Benelux region is joining forces to intensify audits.
How to stay complaint with the Posted Workers Directive
As travel continues to return at scale, it’s essential to ensure the correct documentation is in place before any travel occurs. Topia Compass integrates with your travel and booking systems to automatically identify upcoming travel that may require additional documentation for regulatory compliance. Once identified, Topia notifies employees to complete a pre-travel assessment to understand potential immigration needs (including the need to complete an A1), and automatically initiates downstream services to fulfil the necessary requirements.
The implementation of Pre-Travel Assessments will automate processes and support employees to ensure the right documentation has been completed within the right timescales, while also identifying to an organisation any red flags that might need to be addressed and prevent potential compliance risk before travel occurs.
For more information and a dive into Topia Compass’ Pre-Travel Assessment click here.